In the Classroom: More About Introverted Teaching

This past February, after reading an article by an extroverted teacher who felt it was important to grade her introverted students in class participation,  I wrote a post providing my own perspective as an introverted teacher. It was seen by a reporter at the UK educational journal TES who contacted me for an interview and now you can read her article, “How introverts can thrive as teachers.”

To clarify and extend some of what I said in the article I wrote the following comment:

Lovely to see this. I do just want to clarify that I scheduled the interview for when my class was out of the room. (The article suggests that my class sat silently throughout the conversation which would have been very strange!) But we were still speaking when they returned and I let them know I was finishing up an interview with someone in England. They then politely and quietly played with their Slinkies (which they’d just gotten from their science teacher) until we had finished. I would certainly not have done the whole thing with them there listening!

The comments about noticing the children in distress or not interested really resonated. Too often I worry about the success of a lesson based on the one or two kids who I sensed were disconnected and have to remind myself of the majority who were loving the lesson.  I was interested to learn that extroverts focus more on the latter while we introverts focus more on the former.

I should also say that what I hate about the evening events (and these are where I have to do presentations to large groups of parents not just do small talk)  is the timing — if they were first thing in the morning, before a full day of school, I wouldn’t mind them nearly so much.  (In the article I say over and over how much I hate doing this which is quite true, but I wanted to make it clear it is because of exhaustion after a long day at school and not social anxiety.) And while I feel my best form of communication is by writing (as here) and prefer it for small problems, I do prefer face-to-face for anything serious. I think the problem for me with phone conversations is that I can’t see the person’s response and that may be more about me being more visual than auditory than being introverted. (I certainly don’t communicate really bad stuff via email — that would be awful.)

Anyway, very glad to see this and know I’m not alone.

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